Dallas, meet Tesho Akindele

January 17, 2014 5:24 AM

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Akindele: I think I’m a goal scorer and any team can use a goal scorer. I think I can provide assists and I’m also willing to do the work defensively. A lot of players that can score goals aren’t willing to do the defensive work, but I think I’m willing to do the work on offense and defense.

Akindele: Yeah, I definitely ran into him a few times because he coached in Denver and I was there. I’m excited to play under him because he came to Denver and did really well with the team here. I’m sure he’s going to do really well there in Dallas and glad I’m going to be a part of that.

Akindele: Yeah, it’s almost surreal. Before the combine, nobody was talking about me as getting pick, definitely not in the first round, probably not until like fourth or fifth round. It just shows you how important every game is. I just had a couple of good games. We played three games, I played well and my stock just rose. It just rose by a lot just because of those games. It’s just a surreal feeling, to have moved up so much. I’m just so excited for this opportunity.

Akindele: I’ll wear whatever they give me. I like No. 13. I usually wear 13 or 14, but if those numbers are taken, I’ll take whatever’s left over. It’s not that big a deal to me.

How do you feel about a jump in the level of competition with your move to MLS?

Akindele: I think everybody is facing a difference in level. Even the Division I guys are playing better opponents. I think in DII, the level wasn’t bad. The level was good in DII. We played good teams. I think I showed that at the combine, that I wasn’t too out of place. So, it’s definitely going to be harder to play in MLS than it was to play in Division II but all of us rookies are going to be going through the same thing.

Akindele: I’d definitely say I’m more of a speed guy and with my size, I can play target forward but I feel most of my career I’ve been a speed guy that can get behind defense and get around them on the wings with my speed.

Akindele: We played all kinds of things over here at School of the Mines, 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 and I played on the wing and up top in both of those formations, so I think I’ll be ready for whatever they give me in Dallas.

Akindele: Not graduated, I have one year left on my degree but I withdrew from school. I can be an engineer when I’m 55-years-old but my soccer career has an expiration date, so I want to get the most out of it that I can.

Akindele: I had an interview with Dallas and they made it seem like they liked me, but I had no idea that I would get picked this early. I was definitely thinking maybe somebody would pick me up in the second round, at the end of the first round I might get picked up, but I had no idea sixth pick. Nobody seemed that interested in me. They told me they tried to keep it secret that they were going to get me that early. I’m glad they did that and just happy now, happy it’s over.

Akindele: That’s got to be my goal. That’s my goal definitely, is to contribute right away. I’m going to work hard. I know the level is different. I’m going to have to get used to the difference in speed of play and the smarts of the players, but overall I think I will be able to come in and contribute right away.

How do you think playing in the altitude might help you adjust to the conditioning side of MLS a bit quicker?

Akindele: I think it might help me right away, but Dallas is a lot hotter and more humid than Colorado. That’s going to be hard to get used to but I think I’ll be in good shape because of my altitude training for sure.

Akindele: It’s definitely not going to hit me until tonight because I’m talking to you guys. I have everybody texting me right now, so just have a lot of business to take care of right now. But once I’m able to relax, it’s just really going to hit me, how early I got picked and just how awesome this opportunity actually is.

Akindele: Actually, my mom and dad are over here, at my house. I’m at my college house and they’re over here with me. They were screaming right away. I had a couple of my teammates from the School of the Mines, they were all screaming for me. I was with them. They just said they’re proud of me and I just need to keep working hard and stay humble.

Akindele: Yeah, it definitely comes from my parents. They never let me just give up. If times were tough in school or in sports or just in any situation in life, they made sure that I just stuck to it. That was instilled in me as a kid and I still carry those values with me today.

You turned down the chance to play for the Rapids Academy team to remain with your club team. Talk about that.

Akindele: Well, I was successful with my club team. I think we were playing good soccer and the academy had just started when I was like 17. So I would have only played with the Rapids two years and I had already been with my team for five years, so I felt there was really no need to change teams at that point.

Akindele: Not too much of a hockey fan, I follow a little bit of basketball but that’s about it. I follow all kinds of soccer.

Are there any FCD players you’re especially looking forward to playing alongside?

Akindele: I’m just looking forward to playing with all of them. They’re all professional players and I’m just moving into their world, so I’m excited to see what they can teach me about becoming a better player and how they all help me out.

Source: soccerblog.dallasnews.com

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